Dartmouth & IMT of France Win 2019 edX Prize

November 21, 2019

By Julie Bonette

Winning Professional Certificate in C Programming with Linux has logged over 170,000 enrollments

Dartmouth engineering professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor and Rémi Sharrock from Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT) of France were named winners of the 2019 edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning today. The pair were chosen from among 10 finalists from across the globe for their Professional Certificate program in C Programming with Linux, which launched in 2018 on the edX platform and will be offered again in March 2020.

Petra Bonfert-Taylor and Rémi Sharrock after the prize announcement
Petra Bonfert-Taylor and Rémi Sharrock after the edX Prize winner announcement. (Photo by Kathryn Lapierre)

Dartmouth and IMT were the first members of the edX Consortium to offer a joint edX.org Professional Certificate—a series of courses designed by industry leaders and top universities to build and enhance critical professional skills needed to succeed in today’s most in-demand fields. The two professors and their team spent a full year intensively working on the design of the learning sequences, production, and development. To date, the program has logged over 170,000 enrollments in the seven courses of the series.

"Dartmouth could not be prouder of Professor Bonfert-Taylor and her colleague at IMT for developing this edX program, which is open and accessible to the entire globe," said Alexis Abramson, dean of Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. "The innovative learning tools developed for this course remove common barriers, allowing learners to begin coding in minutes."

The professors' self-paced program provides new, interactive learning tools to anyone interested in gaining an extensive foundation in C programming—a computer language widely used to build computer applications, operating systems, and supercomputers—with Linux, the software that runs a majority of servers today. The revolutionary tools used in the course can be accessed from an internet browser and do not require any installations. Skills taught in the seven-course sequence set learners on a path to become a skilled programmer with a career involving computer engineering or computer science.

"The world is a better place when knowledge flows freely. One of my biggest passions is to transform education through the development of programs that provide accessible and high-quality student-centered learning opportunities across international and socio-economic boundaries," said Bonfert-Taylor. "Through the support of our institutions, we were able to realize a part of this dream. Only at Dartmouth could I have found the resources, expertise, and support that allowed me to follow my educational passions, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our institutions for believing in us."

This Professional Certificate is offered with the support of the Mines-Telecom Foundation, the Patrick and Lina Drahi Foundation, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, and DartmouthX. Rounding out Bonfert-Taylor and Sharrock's team are: Joseph Beaudoin, senior video producer at Dartmouth; Michael Goudzwaard, DartmouthX lead; Delphine Lalire, MOOC program manager at IMT; Ella Hamonic, an independent instructional designer commissioned by IMT; and Mathias Hiron, developer at IMT.

"We are delighted to present Dartmouth professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor and IMT professor Rémi Sharrock with the edX Prize," said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT professor. "Together, they launched the first cross-institutional Professional Certificate program on edX, using innovative open source tools and approaches to remove the most common barriers to beginner coders. We are honored to recognize this team and we offer our sincere gratitude for their commitment to spreading the edX mission of increasing access to high-quality education worldwide."

The edX Prize is an annual award that celebrates the contributions and innovations of educators in the edX community, and amplifies the powerful role that online learning plays in the transformation of education today.